A Preview of Eataly's Beer Garden

By Kelly Snowden Posted April 01, 2011

© Michael Endelman

New Food & Wine Features Editor Michael Endelman is so new to staff, that he doesn’t have a blog profile yet. But he wanted to share this update about an exciting new beer garden in NYC. Here it is:

One of the most exciting things about Mario Batali and Joe Bastianich’s gastronomic amusement park Eataly was the promise of La Birreria, a rooftop Italian-style beer garden with food by Batali and exclusive beers by a trio of cult beer giants—Dogfish Head’s Sam Calagione and the pioneers of Italy’s up-and-coming beer scene: Teo Musso of Birra Baladin in Turin, and Leonardo Di Vincenzo of Birra del Borgo in Rome.

But more than six months after Eataly opened, the project is still MIA. Not for long! The trio previewed the long-awaited Italo-pub this week with a tasting of their beers and some of the dishes Batali is prepping for the menu. Here are five reasons we’re counting the days until the May opening:

1.    Year-Round Drinking: The space was close to ready last fall, Calagione told us, but then Batali and Bastianich decided to “make a $2 million dollar bet on it,” by putting in a retractable roof, so there will be four-season eating and swilling. Bonus: There’s a great view of the Empire State Building from up there.
2.    Kegs Straight from the Old Country: Italy is producing some of the most interesting beer in the world, but it can be tough to find—especially on tap. (Even in Italy, it’s not so huge: “Maybe next year we will reach 0.2 percent of the market,” joked Birra del Borgo founder, Di Vincenzo.) Eataly will have a ton of Italian brews by the glass; probably three in casks and at least six in regular kegs (Dogfish’s beers will be mixed in as well). It’s a chance to taste ultra-rare stuff like the caramelly, creamy Super Baladin or Birra del Borgo’s grassy Genziana, brewed with a bitter herb usually used in making amaro instead of hops.
3.    Exclusive Brews: Meet NYC’s newest beer star—Brooks Carretta, a 28-year-old bearded Italian dude from Birra del Borgo who just moved to town to be Eataly’s in-house beermaker. He’ll be making beers on the roof, like a version of Dogfish Head’s 75-minute IPA infused with thyme. He’s so new in town that he wasn’t quite sure of the name of the Brooklyn street he lives on.
4.    Batali Does Bar Food: A quick run through the menu had some early standouts: tempura-style mushrooms, a mustardy potato salad peppered with crispy guanciale, and an evil-looking dark blood sausage humming with cinnamon. (It’s an especially nice match with Birra del Borgo’s 25 Dodici, a spiced winter ale.)
5.    They’ll Take Reservations: For parties of six or more, you can get your own picnic table. Thanks, Mario!
The Dish
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